It will be well for us to learn to speak to individuals singly. "A congregation of one" may be large enough to call forth all our powers in proclaiming the great news of salvation. Often we may save sinners one by one. If you had a bushel of bottles, and wanted to fill them with water, you would not think the quickest way would be to get a fire engine and hose and play over the heap, especially if the corks were all in, but you would be likely to take a single bottle by the neck, extract the cork, and then, by means of a funnel, turn in a little water at a time until it was filled; and then take another and repeat the process. You would get more bottles filled that way than with a hose and fire engine playing upon them. So you may be able to accomplish more by working single-handed than in crowds. You may preach the word by the wayside or by the fireside, for people need the same Gospel indoors as out.
We need to have the peace of God in our own hearts before we can do much good to other people's hearts; and unless we can rule our own spirits we shall not accomplish much in molding the spirits of others. We notice a blacksmith uses a cold hammer to bend a hot iron; and after working with his tools a little while he plunges them into cold water. So, if you are to influence others, you must keep cool yourself; if you get your hammer hot you will not be able to bend the iron. It is useless to undertake to fight the devil with fire....You know the story of the old French general, who, when he had besought the king to spare the Christians from persecution, and had been refused, said: "Sire, God's Church is an anvil that has worn out a great many hammers." Now, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you can stand a great deal of hammering, and the world will mock and sneer at you in vain. If you keep near the Lord you will ever triumph in His grace. H. L. HASTINGS.